LNG Is the Solution So Forget the Blame and Solve the Problem!
Garland L. Thompson, Esq.
Journalist and Author, Philadelphia
[Editor’s Note: Garland Thompson shows why the Keystone XL pipeline, killed by Joe Biden at the first chance, was and remains one of the solutions to Europe’s energy crisis.]
President Biden’s Executive Order banning importation of oil and gas from Vladimir Putin’s Russia, cheered by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her New England colleagues — along with just about every wide-awake citizen across the United States, to be sure — now presents New Englanders with a painful problem: Too much of the natural gas keeping the lights on and heating homes in those Northernmost U.S. states has been arriving in LNG tankers hauling gas from Russia, to the embarrassment of The Boston Globe‘s Editorial Board, among others. Now, it is no longer available and, quickly, that gas must be replaced, amid an international gas-supply market roiled by shortages and competitive price spikes.
New England, like much of the U.S. East Coast before the shale energy revolution changed the game, once could depend on steady supply of Liquefied Natural Gas shipments from Trinidad-Tobago, but price competition from Pacific Rim customers made that problematic during winters deeply chilled by Polar Vortex winds.
Boston, like its Northern neighbors, was forced to go shopping on the “spot” market for LNG shipments and, too many times, wound up buying shiploads pushed out from an environmentally challenged project in Siberia, producing profits that ultimately supported Putin’s military buildup.
Thus, today, it’s time for those of us residing and working in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio — the Shale Crescent states whose entrepreneurial producers produced a revolution in energy — to develop proposals that could help Senator Warren’s constituents out of the lurch in which they find themselves. To wit:
- It was pointed out in Natural Gas Now and other energy Blogs that just before Russia’s Ukraine War began, Sen, Warren and her colleague Ed Markey joined other Northern senators in demanding that Joe Biden halt all U.S. LNG exports. Their New England constituents were having trouble keeping the heat on during this winter’s cold times, and the senators wanted better access to that American gas.
- It also was pointed out that the New Englanders themselves had had helped exacerbate the shortages they were facing, with their intense opposition to completion of pipeline projects that would have brought cleaner, less-expensive natural gas from the Marcellus Shale fields, ending their dependence on. Russian gas supplies
- Today, however, it is time to stop chortling over the New Englanders’ mistakes. We can provide that vital gas supply with new initiatives. Let’s seek support from Sens. Warren and Markey, for initiatives that will not only help our fellow Americans get over a bad cold-weather hump, but will promote job growth across the American landscape.
- Proposed: Draft bills that use some of the Biden Administration’s multi-billion-dollar Infrastructure funding program to provide subsidies to construct a new generation of Jones Act ships, LNG tankers that can haul American gas from America’s own LNG terminals to the needy U.S. population areas that require delivery by ocean transport. Not only for Boston and its new England neighbors, but also for distant communities in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but even in remote places like American Samoa.
- Because it will take time to get those American-market LNG tankers built, Let’s develop another initiative: Supply New England with LNG by rail, shipped out from Pennsylvania’s bountiful Endless Mountains gas wells from, say, a local liquefaction plant such as that one New Fortress Energy proposed to construct in Bradford County. The Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Agency already has considered the safety issues and approved potential cross-state shipment of LNG to supply the port New Fortress proposed to build at Gibbstown, N.J., on the Delaware, so re-targeting rail shipment to support New England’s immediate needs in this way would be eminently viable.
- In each case, these initiatives will promote job growth in multiple areas. New England hosts a major civilian shipyard, as do Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, and shipyards on the Gulf Coast might also join the new-build program, to the benefit of all.
- Port developments to expand America’s fleet of LNG terminals — including acceleration of pipe transmission-line builds to serve the new terminals — would produce even more job growth, with benefits to economic development and local and state tax-revenue growth as well.
- Getting all of this work done, ending New England’s regular difficulties procuring enough gas supplies to keep the lights on and residents’ homes well-heated, will require concentrated legislative drives by politicians like Senator Warren and her New England colleagues, teaming up with elected officeholders from the Shale Crescent states as well as from the traditional Oil Patch states.
Might it be possible that Senator Warren and her Northeastern States colleagues will step up, promoting job growth for many Americans while solving a problem she herself has called critical?
Only time will tell.
Editor’s Note: It is possible to build “Jones Act” ships. See this:
Garland L. Thompson, Esq. is a Contributing Editor at US Black Engineer & Information Technology.
This post appeared first on Natural Gas Now.